The Rise and Decline of the Business Roundtable: Large Corporations and Congressional Lobbying
Mark Mizruchi argues that the success of the Roundtable and other business-based interest groups and think tanks during this period actually generated the hysteresis apparent in contemporary US government, ultimately undermining the ability of such lobbies to act collectively. But in this chapter I challenge this proposition through an examination of the dual strategies used by large corporations in the US to represent their interests.
Previous research on corporate engagement with think tanks and lobbying has concentrated on interlocking directorships, membership of collective groups and contributions to political action committees as indicators of corporate unity and proxies for government influence. But lobbying disclosure returns, mandated over the last decade, provide a large untapped source of data on the efforts of corporate representations to Congress in considerable detail. I employ social network analysis to identify the distinct channels of representation used by large corporations individually and complementarily to pursue a variety of issues with Congress.
I find that participation in think tanks such as the Business Roundtable is one mechanism of representation that complements rather than contradicts more direct political representation by individual corporations themselves and that collective action is still evident with respect to congressional lobbying by large corporations.